Some Christian Churches are waking up to the fact that some within their walls are starting to Deconstruct their faith. I’ve even seen a few Churches hosting events to address the issue and even talk about how to move on to Reconstruction.
But, here’s what those Churches need to understand: If you don’t change your Church into a safe place to ask questions and even doubt some of your precious doctrines, people will continue to walk away from you.
Yes, it’s great that some churches are taking notice of the fact that people are Deconstructing their faith. Of course, how could they possibly ignore it when hundreds of thousands of Christians are walking away from the Christian Church? The research is overwhelming and church growth experts have been sounding the alarm for the last decade over the numbers of young people leaving the faith and the rise of the “Nones and the Dones” in the American Evangelical Church.
Yes, admitting you have a problem is the first step. But, to really solve the problem, you need to realize what the cause of the problem is and then be willing to make the necessary changes to reverse the trend.
The problem we’re facing is this: Christians are questioning their faith. They are Deconstructing their Christian faith and doubting the beliefs that were handed to them as children. As they defy the status quo of Christianity, they are being attacked as heretics, labelled “divisive” and threatened with eternal damnation for asking too many questions.
This is why they are leaving the Church. Plain and simple, they are being asked to leave, or placed in situations where the only sane choice is to walk away to avoid the abuse.
So, my dear American Christian Church, let me urge you to do this one thing if you want to stop the mass exodus of Deconstructing Christians – Embrace those who doubt and allow them to wrestle through their Deconstruction process.
As long as you continue to hold an iron grip on your certainty and refuse to allow people to work through their uncertainty, those people are going to have no other choice but to walk away.
Now, here’s what that would look like: Your pastors are going to have to stop insisting that they “know” everything. Your Bible Teachers are going to have to start inviting people to ask honest questions and take those seriously. Your insistence upon having people sign your Statement of Faith before they can become a member, or teach in your schools or Sunday School classrooms or join your staff is going to have to go away.
To be honest, I don’t think my appeal is really going to reach the right people. Most of those who are pushing people away are most likely going to continue to do so in the name of “defending the faith” and “standing up for Biblical truth” or whatever.
But, I have to at least try to speak into those places and let people know why they’re seeing so many people walk away from the Church. I need to at least attempt to show Church leaders how they can create safe spaces for doubt and stop hurting those who ask questions about their faith.
If nothing else, those people can no longer say, “I didn’t know” or “I had no idea” when they wake up one Sunday and walk into an empty church building.
For those who are still Deconstructing their faith and want someone who can help them process this, I have a few half-price seats still available [while they last] for “Square 1”. This is a 90 Day transformational coaching experience designed to help people find a foundation for Reconstruction. Registration is here.
For those who are creating the toxic atmosphere that is driving people away from the Church, let me just say this: One day you’re going to realize all the pain you’ve caused people. We’re hoping to build a safe space where even you are welcome and forgiven for driving us away. That’s what Jesus would want.
Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.